Coronavirus could threaten entire SPFL but they ‘endeavour to complete season’

Coronavirus is sweeping the world, and Neil Doncaster admits if a single top-flight club has an outbreak of Covid-19 it will make the season difficult to complete – and this could hamper the chances of Celtic’s nine-in-a-row dreams.

Neil Lennon’s side is on course to extend their dominance in the domestic tournaments and now with a 12-point lead in the Premiership and a semi-final in the Scottish Cup to come.

The SPFL and SFA have set up a joint committee to monitor the crisis it has concluded that currently there is no rationale or reason to close or cancel matches, but Neil Doncaster outlined the knock-on effect and how serious they can be.

He said: “We are taking a pragmatic approach to the current situation and have alerted our members to the fact that, if the outbreak affects the first team of even one SPFL club, it could make completing the SPFL season very difficult, so first-team players and staff should be extremely vigilant.

“Whilst the current, clear advice is that matches should proceed as scheduled, we will obviously prepare for contingencies where matches might have to be played behind closed doors, or even be cancelled, as we have already seen with other major sporting events.

“With that in mind, we have alerted the Scottish Government to the dire financial consequences facing clubs if the current situation changes and clubs are unable to generate revenue from ticket sales.”

Ian Maxwell, Scottish FA Chief Executive, said: “Together with our colleagues at the SPFL, we have written to our members to underline that we will do everything possible to complete fixtures, whilst taking fully on board the Government’s expert advice and the guidance of our Medical Consultant, Dr John MacLean.

“We have also advised our clubs of the absolute necessity of following hygiene best practice at stadiums, training grounds and other premises, as well as providing information to staff, fans, contractors, broadcasters and other media entering club premises.”